What I've Learned

"Being funny is more important than being talented."–Chito Miranda

The lead singer of Parokya Ni Edgar on entertaining an audience, saving money, and endearing women.
IMAGE Jason Quibilan
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As long as you make fun of yourself, nobody else can.

From our first performances [in high school], we learned that being funny is more important than being talented. Kasi we were a bunch of kids lang na walang talent at walang skill. Ang daming magagaling dun, ka-batch namin si Mike Elgar from Rivermaya, and Mark Laccay, another excellent musician, and they’re super talented and we cannot do what they do, pero kaya naming mangulit at magpatawa.

One thing that I also learned from being [in Ateneo], ayoko maging stereotypical na Atenista na nakaporma, na naka-expensive na damit, expensive na shoes, ganun. [I learned] ‘yung simplicity of being anti-sosyal—di naman anti-social, pero anti-sosyal.

The best thing I’ve ever done with money is save it. Wala akong ginagawa kundi ipunin nang ipuninwala akong fancy cars, wala akong lavish na bahay. [My savings] give me the sense of security that I’m doing the right thing, and I can do whatever I want when it comes to the band. Even if I quit now, I’ll survive on the interest of what I’ve saved.

I want people to like and enjoy our songs. I don’t know if that’s being a sellout or that’s compromising your artistic integrity, pero sa akin, whenever I come up with songs, ‘di ko iniisip na kailangan kumita ‘to, because I already bought that security, by saving everything that I’ve earned. So ngayon, ‘pag gagawa ako ng kanta, iniisip ko lang, sana magustuhan ‘to ng mga tao, sana marinig nila ‘to at sabihin nila, ang galing ng kantang ‘to. Nakakatawa ‘tong kantang ‘to, or naka-relate ako sa kantang ‘to or ang sakit ng kantang ‘to or na feeling talaga nila sila ‘yung kinausap ko.

I’m doing this for the people who love listening to our band, but I’m not doing this for the money. There’s a difference.

Playing for different audiences, it’s like a video game with different bosses; you have to figure out their specific weakness for you to give them a good show. Most musicians, selfish sila eh, they just play and do their thing. Kami we’re not musicians, I think we’re more of entertainers. I can’t dazzle the audience with my singing voice, so what I do is I just make sure they’re enjoying. Just like sex: para magustuhan ka ng babae, do what she wants, or kung ano 'yung hinihingi. Basta at the end of the gig, dapat pagbaba ng stage, pag-alis ng mga tao, dapat you both had fun at that moment na nagtagpo kayo.

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I bought a house and asked my family to move in with me. For the longest time kasi, di ba, kasama ko lang sila 8 [Toleran, of the band Cheese]—’yung mga years na ‘yun, rock and roll talaga. Walang parents, walang laundry, eat whatever you want, do whatever you want, wake up whenever you want. Eventually na-miss ko ‘yung ‘pag gising mo may breakfast, fresh na ‘yung clothes mo, having someone na pag-uwi mo, andun na ‘yung family mo. So what I did, I went back to the village kung saan nakatira ‘yung parents ko and my brother, and bought a bigger house and asked them to move in. Sobrang masaya. Di masyadong rock and roll like before, [but it’s good for me], now I’m totally sober from any substance abuse.

I learned from my bandmates that everyone is different from each other—you cannot expect them to act the same way or think the way you think; you need to realize that you are an individual and they are individuals. You need to, in a way, compromise. ‘Di mo puwedeng ipilit 'yung gusto mo at ‘di mo rin puwedeng basta sundin ‘yung gusto niya. You have to meet at a point where pareho kayong masaya.

Girls are not really into looks. As long as they enjoy being with you... Siyempre magkaka-crush sila ng mga pogi, pero ang mga girls, di naman sila mababaw eh.

Never ko na-enjoy at all makipag-sex sa hindi ko mahal. I don’t know why. The story of my life when it comes to that is, I’d flirt with someone, and get to the boobs part, pero when it comes to taking off our pants, I don’t want to kapag ‘di ko mahal. I don’t know why, but the libog factor ends there. Sa lifestyle siguro namin, if I did [have sex without love], siguro may sakit na ako ngayon, o patay na ako ngayon talaga.

I have no problems with growing old. The thing is, sobrang nageenjoy ako sa ginagawa ko. It’s not regret, I think, the fact na gusto mo balikan lahat ng ginawa mo. Kasi na-enjoy ko lahat, gusto ko ulitin lahat exactly how I did everything, and how we did everything as a band. Kung baga sa theme park, mas mahaba pa sana ‘yung ride.

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This story originally appeared in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of Esquire Philippines.

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Luis Katigbak
Luis Katigbak was a fictionist and editor. He served as the associate editor for Esquire Philippines.
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